Category Archives: Family & Work

Child Care Expenses Make Middle-Class Incomes Hard to Reach

Source: Robert Paul Hartley, Beth Mattingly, Christopher T. Wimer, Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire, August 2018

From the press release:
About nine percent of working families with children under the age of six are pushed out of the middle class as a result of their child care expenses, according to new research released by the Carsey School of Public Policy at the University of New Hampshire.

The researchers also found that many middle-class families do not pay any out-of-pocket child care expenses, perhaps by relying on family and friends, or by turning to lower-cost, less-qualified care. If all middle-class working families with young children were to pay what typical upper-middle and middle-class families pay for child care, roughly $6,900 per year on average, an additional 21 percent would be pushed below the middle-class threshold….

How Companies Make It Tougher for Lesbian, Gay, and Bisexual Employees to Achieve Work-Life Balance

Source: Katina Sawyer, Christian Thoroughgood, Harvard Business Review, August 23, 2018

…. Recently, we conducted a qualitative study in which we interviewed 53 lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) employees in the U.S. across various industries and job types. Specifically, we asked about their work-family experiences at their current organizations. Our study was motivated by the observation that, since its inception more than 30 years ago, research on work-family conflict in organizations has assumed that employees belong to a heterosexual family structure (one man and one woman). Our goal was to determine whether previous research on employees’ experiences of work-family conflict applied similarly to LGB employees and their families.

We found that, although LGB employees experience many of the same work-family conflicts that their heterosexual colleagues do — for example, work time interfering with family time, or feeling unable to separate from work at home — they experience a range of additional conflicts related to their stigmatized family identity. These include a sense of tension over whether to take advantage of family-related benefits for fear of revealing their same-sex relationship, feeling conflicted over whether to bring spouses to work events, and feeling uneasy about discussing with a supervisor the family-related challenges that impact their work life. ….

When Will the U.S. Finally Act Boldly on Paid Family Leave?

Source: Maya Uppaluru, Harvard Business Review, August 13, 2018

…. It is time for the U.S. to join the rest of the developed world in providing paid parental leave. Politicians on both sides of the aisle are finally starting to recognize that the current system places American parents in an impossible position. None of them would provide what I think is adequate: six months of paid leave per parent. (Six months is the recommendation of the president of the American Academy of Pediatrics as well.) ….

Do Work-Family Conflict and Resiliency Mediate Police Stress and Burnout: a Study of State Police Officers

Source: Jennifer D. Griffin, Ivan Y. Sun, American Journal of Criminal Justice, Volume 43 Issue 2, June 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Occupational stress and burnout have long been recognized as common hazards among police officers. The present study examines whether demographic characteristics and assignment affect police officers’ work-family conflict (WFC), resiliency, stress and burnout, and whether WFC and resiliency mediate the stress and burnout of police officers. The data were collected from a Mid-Atlantic state police agency in the United States of America through a web-based survey. Regression results revealed that minority officers tended to have lower levels of WFC and burnout and better educated officers reported lower degrees of WFC and stress. WFC was positively related to stress and burnout, while resilience was inversely linked to stress and burnout. The effects of race and education disappeared when WFC and resiliency entered the regression, suggesting that their impact was largely mediated by WFC and resiliency. Lastly, stress was found to be positively associated with burnout. Implications for research and policy are discussed.

Stepping Up: New Policies and Strategies Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children – An Update to Set Up for Success

Source: National Women’s Law Center, August 2018

From the summary:
In recent years, the policy landscape at the federal level and in some states has in many ways become extraordinarily inhospitable to families—especially immigrant families—who are struggling to make ends meet and provide for their children. Far too many families find themselves set up to fail, with millions of parents across the country working in jobs in which low wages, unfair scheduling practices, and minimal benefits make it difficult to meet both work and caregiving responsibilities. And the parents most likely to work in low-wage jobs are women—disproportionately women of color and immigrant women—who are often raising very young children on their own.

Against this backdrop, however, it is all the more important to recognize that a substantial number of states, localities, and private actors—from working people to community-based organizations to large companies—have taken important steps in the past two years to improve the lives of low-wage working parents and their children.

Stepping Up: New Policies and Strategies Supporting Parents in Low-Wage Jobs and Their Children provides examples of the ways in which different stakeholders have implemented new policies, practices, and strategies to advance the key goals outlined in the National Women’s Law Center’s June 2016 report, Set Up for Success:
– Increase parents’ incomes.
– Ensure parents are treated fairly in the workplace and have stable, predictable work schedules.
– Expand children’s access to high-quality, affordable child care and early education.
– Increase parents’ access to paid sick days and paid family and medical leave.
– Improve parents’ opportunities to obtain education and training that can help them advance into better jobs.

Mothers Lose $16,000 Annually to the Wage Gap, NWLC Analysis Shows

Source: National Women’s Law Center (NWLC), May 23, 2018

From the press release:
While women in the U.S. who work full time, year round are typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to their male counterparts, the wage gap between working mothers and fathers is even larger. Mothers typically are paid only 71 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, which translates to a loss of $16,000 annually, according to new National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) analysis of Census data. The motherhood wage gap exists in every state and can mean mothers lose thousands of dollars more than the national figure: mothers do best in Maine, where they are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to fathers, and worst in Utah, where they are paid only 58 cents for every dollar paid to fathers. ….

Key findings of the analysis include:
– More than 2 in 5 mothers (42.2 percent) are employed in one of twelve occupations, and in every one of those occupations, mothers are paid between 52 cents and 85 cents for every dollar paid to fathers.
– The wage gap exists for mothers at every education level.
– Among full-time, year-round workers, mothers with a high school degree make just 68 cents for every dollar paid to fathers with a high school degree.
– Fathers who earn a master’s degree or a doctoral degree are typically paid $100,000 and $115,000 respectively. Conversely, mothers who complete these degrees are typically paid no more than $90,000 annually.
– Asian/Pacific Islander mothers are paid 85 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic fathers; white, non-Hispanic mothers are paid 69 cents; Black mothers, 54 cents; Native mothers, 49 cents; and Latina mothers, 46 cents. The wage gap persists for mothers of all ages

An Unequal Division of Labor: How Equitable Workplace Policies Would Benefit Working Mothers

Source: Sarah Jane Glynn, Center for American Progress, May 2018

From the overview:
Most working mothers return home to a second shift of unpaid housework and caregiving after their official workday ends. When paid work, household labor, and child care are combined, working mothers spend more time working than fathers.

Time Demands of Single Mother College Students and the Role of Child Care in their Postsecondary Success

Source: Lindsey Reichlin Cruse, Barbara Gault, Jooyeoun Suh, Mary Ann DeMario, Institute for Women’s Policy Research, IWPR C468, May 2018

From the summary:
Single mothers enrolled in postsecondary education face substantial time demands that make persistence and graduation difficult. Just 28 percent of single mothers graduate with a degree or certificate within 6 years of enrollment and another 55 percent leave school before earning a college credential (IWPR 2017a). The combination of raising a family on their own, going to class, completing coursework, and holding a job can place serious constraints on single mothers’ time that can force them to make hard choices about their pursuit of higher education. Expanded supports for single mothers in college would allow more women to consider and complete college degrees and enjoy economically secure futures.

Inflexible jobs also make non-parents miserable

Source: Jared Wadley, Futurity, April 30, 2018

Work-life balance is not an issue exclusive to women, particularly mothers, new research shows. Men and people without children can suffer when they feel that their workplace culture is not family-friendly, as well.

When employees think their careers will suffer if they take time away from work for family or personal reasons, they have lower work satisfaction and experience more work-life spillover. In addition, they are more likely to intend to leave their jobs, say researchers…..

….People typically think only women and moms experience work-family issues, and need flexible work arrangements, like telecommuting, part-time work, or job sharing. Society believes it’s women who bear the brunt of unfriendly work cultures, when it actually impacts all genders, says Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, lead author and assistant professor of sociology at California State University Channel Islands…..

Related:
Not Just a Mothers’ Problem: The Consequences of Perceived Workplace Flexibility Bias for All Workers
Lindsey Trimble O’Connor, Erin A. Cech, Sociological Perspectives, Online First, April 13, 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Flexibility bias and the “ideal worker” norm pose serious disadvantages for working mothers. But, are mothers the only ones harmed by these norms? We argue that these norms can be harmful for all workers, even “ideal” ones—men without caregiving responsibilities who have never used flexible work arrangements. We investigate how working in an environment where workers perceive flexibility bias affects their job attitudes and work-life spillover. Using representative survey data of U.S. workers, we find that perceived flexibility bias reduces job satisfaction and engagement and increases turnover intentions and work-life spillover for all types of workers, even ideal workers. The effects of perceived bias on satisfaction, turnover, and spillover operate beyond experiences with family responsibilities discrimination and having colleagues who are unsupportive of work-life balance. We show that workplace cultures that harbor flexibility bias—and, by extension, that valorize ideal work—may affect the entire workforce in costly ways.